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2015/2016  BA-BHAAI1034U  The Persuasive Power of External Communication in Shaping Business Fates and Fortunes

English Title
The Persuasive Power of External Communication in Shaping Business Fates and Fortunes

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 120
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Jay Rubin, jayrubin@nyu.edu
    Sven Bislev - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management (ICM)
In case of any academic questions related to the course, please contact the course instructor or the academic director, Sven Bislev at sb.ikl@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Communication
  • Marketing
Last updated on 09-06-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Apply theories, models, best practices and the various tools (traditional and social media) associated with persuasion and external communication in business contexts.
  • Demonstrate strategic insight to help uncover and analyze competitive or stakeholder problems that could be alleviated/moderated with persuasive external communication.
  • Recognize the extent that consumers now scrutinize companies on issues well beyond products/services and how external communication can heighten customer satisfaction.
  • Understand that business success increasingly hinges on how a company communicates its values through CSR, issues management and stakeholder relations.
Course prerequisites
No prerequisites
The persuasive power of external communication in shaping business fates and fortunes:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer, Ordinary exam: 1-5 August 2016.
Retake exam: Within two months from the ordinary exam.
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
a 10-page home assignment, with a new exam question
Course content and structure

From Roman times when Julius Caesar issued battlefield reports to influence public opinion to the current Apple age when Steve Jobs transformed the telephone, external communication has been an essential building block of successful organizational endeavors. Arguably, the classic underlying principles of persuasive external communication have been largely the same for thousands of years. Today, however, sweeping cultural changes and dramatic advances in technology clearly have heightened the persuasive stakes and the reliance on external communication as never before. With stakeholder empowerment and corporate transparency at unprecedented levels due to globalization and the advent of social media, the role of the external communicator has become increasingly top-level corporate strategist rather than the once more narrowly defined publicist. 

This course looks at how businesses today excel (or stumble) based on how well they understand of the widening power and reach of persuasion across global, national and local levels.  It explores how organizations seek to persuade stakeholders through an expanded range of external communication strategies and tactics to help manage ongoing issues, avert or moderate controversies and crises and, more day-to-day, develop and maintain welcoming markets for their products and services. Significant attention in this course is focused on corporate social responsibility initiatives as consumers now are increasingly likely to consider “who you are” as a corporate contributor to society, rather than simply what you have to sell. 


A Preliminary Assignment and a Feedback Activity are required; both aim to further student insight and engagement from lectures, readings and other aspects of the course.




Class 1

Overview of theories and models related to communication and persuasion: classic and contemporary

Class 2

Persuasive corporate storytelling: message strategies and structures

Class 3

Rhetoric and resonance: use of language to make a business's external communication memorable  

Class 4

Thought leadership: traditional and social-media tools and tactics 

Class 5

Corporate social responsibility: building trust, loyalty and new business opportunities

Class 6

Stakeholders and issues management strategies in a CSR context: global, national and local (part 1)

Feedback activity: student role-play exercises with instructor and peer critiques

Class 7

Stakeholders and issues management strategies (part 2)

Class 8

Crisis communication: how external communication can preempt, moderate or exacerbate problems

Class 9

Value and values: external communication planning in an era when "who you are" drives a company's product sales

Class 10

Future of external communication: emerging trends and leaders

Class 11

Comprehensive review

Teaching methods
Teaching methods will include lectures, accompanied by slide decks, videos and postings on CBS Learn; assigned readings; active discussion about theories and practices; and guided student role-play activities related to the use of persuasive communication to address challenges and opportunities across different industries.
Student workload
Preliminary assignment 10 hours
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 144 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Examination 12 hours
Further Information


Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.


Feedback Activity: A feedback activitity defined by the course instructor will take place app. half-way through the course. 


The timetable is available on  http://www.cbs.dk/files/cbs.dk/isup_timetable_2016_updated.pdf

Expected literature

Required Text: 

"Good Works! Marketing and Corporate Initiatives that Build a Better World ... and the Bottom Line". Available for purchase at CBS Bookstore


Required Coursepack:

Available for online purchase from Harvard Business Publishing

Use link: http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/access/49409993


Coursepack articles include:

•”Harnessing the Science of Persuasion,” HBR's 10 Must Reads on Communication

•”Telling Tales,” HBR's 10 Must Reads on Communication

• ”Tools and Techniques for External Corporate Communication,” Corporate Communication

•”Fiji Water and Corporate Social Responsibility -Green Makeover or 'Greenwashing'?,”Ivey/Western University;

•"Marketing Meets Web 2.0, Social Media, and Creative Consumers: Implications for International Marketing Strategy” (Kelley/Indiana University)


Last updated on 09-06-2016